As you prepare for cardiac catheterization, it’s natural to have a lot of questions and feel anxiety about the procedure. Learn as much as you can about the procedure and what happens in the cardiac cath lab so that you feel empowered and prepared before your appointment.
What is Cardiac Catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization gives doctors the ability to diagnose and treat many heart conditions without performing major surgery. During cardiac catheterization, doctors pass a catheter (a flexible, very thin tube) through an artery in your body and into your heart. The artery is usually accessed at the groin, arm or sometimes the neck. This is a common but serious procedure. At Medical Center of Lewisville, the cardiac rehabilitation team consists of Registered Nurses and Exercise Physiologists, all certified in CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and ACLS (Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support).
Why is Cardiac Catheterization Performed?
You may have this procedure to help identify or rule out a heart condition. According to Medline Plus, cardiac catheterization can gather information about the heart or its blood vessels or determine the need for heart surgery. If you have a diagnosis already, this procedure may also be used to treat a heart issue by opening blocked arteries or grafts or repairing a stuck heart valve. The CDC adds that this procedure can measure blood pressure and flow in the heart, collect blood samples from the heart, or inject dye into the coronary arteries.
What is the Procedure Like?
As with any medical procedure that involves sedation or minor surgery, you may be asked to avoid food and water for a specific number of hours before your appointment. When you arrive for your procedure, you’ll be checked over with basic screenings including your blood pressure and temperature. You will change into a surgical gown. You’ll receive sedating medication to help you relax. While you won’t feel pain while the catheter is being moved inside of your body, you may feel a little discomfort where it’s inserted. This test can last up to an hour, so some patients feel discomfort from lying still for a prolonged amount of time. Ask your doctor about the risks of this procedure and what you can do as a team to lower them, including proper aftercare and rest once the procedure is complete.